Investigating preference-performance relationships in aboveground-belowground life cycles: a laboratory and field study with the vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus)

K. E. Clark, S. E. Hartley, R. M. Brennan, K. MacKenzie, S. N. Johnson

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The preference-performance hypothesis has principally considered insect herbivores with aboveground lifecycles, although the hypothesis could be equally relevant to insects with life stages occurring both aboveground and belowground. Moreover, most studies have focussed on either laboratory or field experiments, with little attempt to relate the two. In this study, the preference-performance hypothesis was examined in an aboveground-belowground context in the laboratory using the vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus (F.)) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and two cultivars of red raspberry (Rubus idaeus), Glen Rosa and Glen Ample. A two-year field study (2008-2009) was also undertaken to characterise the population dynamics of adult weevils on the two raspberry cultivars. Larval performance (abundance and mass) differed significantly between Glen Rosa and Glen Ample, with Glen Rosa resulting in 26% larger but 56% fewer larvae compared to Glen Ample. Larval abundances were significantly and positively correlated with root nitrogen and magnesium concentrations, but negatively correlated with root iron. However, concentrations of these minerals were not significantly different in the two cultivars. Adult weevils did not preferentially select either of the two cultivars for egg laying (laying 3.08 and 2.80 eggs per day on Glen Ample and Glen Rosa, respectively), suggesting that there was no strong preference-performance relationship between adult vine weevils and their belowground offspring. Field populations of adult vine weevils were significantly higher on Glen Ample than Glen Rosa, which may reflect the higher larval survival on Glen Ample observed in laboratory experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalBulletin of Entomological Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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